Physicians Get Meaningful Use Bonuses

Texas physicians and hospitals have earned almost $200 million in federal incentives for "meaningful use" [PDF] of electronic health records (EHRs) thus far in 2011. TMA's Health Information Technology Department reports that as of Sept. 30, payments for Medicaid and Medicare incentives totaled $188.5 million – $151.9 million in Medicaid incentives and $36.6 million for Medicare.

Almost 1,500 physicians and 137 hospitals received payments. For example, Dallas colorectal surgeon Don Read, MD, says his 11-physician group received $198,000. Hospitals received $158.6 million, while physicians received $29.8 million.

To help physicians earn federal EHR incentives, federal dollars created the Texas Regional Extension Centers (RECs) to provide on-site technical consulting. RECs can help your office enable the full use and potential of health information technology.

Texas has four RECs that help physicians achieve meaningful use. The Texas RECs work with you to fully realize the benefits of EHRs in improving efficiencies and patient care. They serve as a direct pipeline to the national program with HIT adoption. They also help physicians that are still using paper records to select and transition to an electronic record. 

Primary care physicians qualify for a grant that lowers the annual price of services to $300 per physician. Federal incentives for consulting and EHR use are unprecedented and will not last long. Learn more about the Texas RECs, available incentives, REC and incentive eligibility, and meaningful use by visiting TMA's REC Resource Center.   

Still have a question? Call the TMA Health Information Technology Helpline at (800) 880-5720 or email HIT.  

Action, Nov. 1, 2011